Moira Donegan on Cultivating Invulnerability


The Critic and Her Publics is a live interview series that asks the best and most prominent critics working today to perform criticism on the spot, on an object they’ve never seen before. It’s a glimpse into brilliant minds at work, performing their thinking, taking risks, and making spontaneous judgments, which are sometimes right and sometimes wrong.

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From the episode:

Merve Emre: Our guest today, Moira Donegan, joins us from Stanford University where she’s a writer in residence at the Clayman Institute for Gender Research. Although she and I have been correspondents for years, we only spoke for the first time when I appeared on “In Bed with the Right” which is not nearly as scandalous as it sounds: it’s her podcast that focuses on right-wing ideas about gender, sex, and sexuality, which she co-hosts with the lovable Germanist Adrian Daub. The three of us spoke about the return (or the resurrection) of various second-wave feminist writers in the new millennium, and I felt a deepening affinity for Moira’s critical sensibility, which is sharp and generous, curious and respectful. She’s been a regular contributor columnist for The Guardian since 2018 and her column is one of the few saved tabs at the top of my browser. Reading it has become a ritual. Every week, I wait to see what Moira has written about and every week I find her expounding on the most urgent topics: the Republican primary, the Supreme Court, abortion rights, academic freedom, the legacy of the #MeToo movement, with the kind of ferocious conviction and moral clarity that makes me (along with hundreds of thousands of other readers) stand up and pay attention.

For a full transcript and details of the piece Moira Donegan responded to, head over to the New York Review of Books.

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Moira Donegan is writer in residence for the Clayman Institute, where she participates in the intellectual life of the Institute, hosts its artist salon series, teaches a class in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, and mentors students, while continuing her own projects and writing. Her criticism, essays, and commentary, which cover the intersection of gender, politics, and the law, have appeared in places such as the New York Times, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and Bookforum. Donegan has been an editor at the New Republic and n+1, and currently she writes a column on gender in America for TheGuardian. Her first book, Gone Too Far: MeToo, Backlash, and the Future of Feminist Politics, is forthcoming from Scribner.

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